OH drivers fear drugged drivers more than drunk drivers

Francis Osborne
April 28, 2017

"The more we can synthesize the latest research and share what's going on around the country to address drug-impaired driving, the better positioned states will be to prevent it", Hedlund said in the news release.

He stressed that doesn't mean drugged drivers were involved in or caused more fatal crashes than drunken drivers, because there is no objective test for when someone is impaired by drugs and because states don't test all drivers killed in crashes.

"What's needed is that same level of recognition for drugged driving".

According to a new study by the Governor's Highway Safety Association, drugs were a factor in 43 percent of fatal crashes nationwide.

"There's not a quick and easy test to determine impairment by drugs", said Adkins, a Fayette County native, on Wednesday's "Talkline".

Identifying drugged drivers, as opposed to drunk drivers, can sometimes be hard for law enforcement officers and the numbers of drugged drivers on the roads are climbing, according to information from the Governors Highway Safety Association.

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Driving under the influence of legal and illegal drugs is causing the same concern for motorists today that drunken driving caused 40 years ago and should generate the same response. There were 18,493 crashes involving drugs from 2006 to 2015, according to traffic crash reports provided by the Michigan State Police. Marijuana is not metabolized in the system in the same way as alcohol, so while a person with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher is considered too drunk to drive, it is not possible to say the same thing absent other evidence about a person testing positive for tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana.

But many officers are not trained to identify the signs and systems of drugged drivers, according to the GHSA report. Responsibity.org, the website for the alcohol responsibility group, is providing $100,000 in grants this year to IL and four other states to train officers.

In crashes where the driver died, 57 percent of drivers had their blood tested.

Roadside screenings for drugs that use saliva are being tested, and tests that use breath are being developed, Hedlund said. The report recommends that states test for drugs all fatally injured drivers and people arrested for driving under the influence to get better information on how big the problem is.

"Years ago, the common phrase at a party at the end of the night was, 'How about one for the road?'" Mr. Hedlund said.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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